The Easiest Meal Planning Tool: Save Money, Save Time, & Get Healthy​

The Easiest Meal Planning Tool:  Save Money, Save Time, & Get Healthy​

There are three things I always need to do:  find more time, save more money, and have healthy food easily accessible.  And I am sure I am not alone. I have finally found a solution for all three. Thanks to the Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty (ECCD) program, my life is now a bit more simple.

I came across ECCD while trying to find a meal planning protocol that would work for our family. At the time, I was overwhelmed due to my lack of planning. I was in a rut, cooking the same couple of dishes every week. I was regularly ordering food in because it was convenient. I was making at least five trips to the grocery store each week, picking up forgotten items. I had lost my passion for cooking. Meal time was becoming more stressful than enjoyable. Something needed to change.

So what does eating clean mean? Eating clean means consuming foods in their original form, with little to no processing or refining. Eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats, while avoiding highly processed foods and sugary sweets.

The Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty (ECCD) program has changed our lives. I am saving time, saving money, and eating healthier. Our meal options have expanded, and I am learning new recipes every week. We are no longer suffering from meal fatigue, eating the same things over and over. I am making dishes I never thought I could, and they taste great.

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link.  These are all products I highly recommend and all opinions are my own

ECCD soup
Paleo Italian Wedding Soup – Week 49

With the ECCD program, I receive a weekly email with a Mea Plan & Prep Guide which includes:

  • Weekly Menu – a list of meals for the week, which includes:
    • one breakfast with four servings,
    • two lunches with two servings each
    • four dinners with 4-6 servings
    • one snack with four servings.
    • Chulengo and I share the lunch meal and are both satisfied with the portion available. When it comes to the dinner recipes, we almost always have leftovers.
  • Grocery List – a list of items to pick up from the grocery store (or raid from my pantry)
  • Recipe List – a breakdown of measurements and ingredients for each recipe
  • Sunday Prep Strategy – step by step instructions to prepare food for the week. I do this on Sunday, and it usually takes me 2-4 hours, depending on the week
  • Day of Instructions – simple, basic instructions for how to finalize each meal the day it is to be served

How I am Saving Time

  • I go to the grocery store 1-2x/week, instead of 5+ times (with a toddler)
  • I spend less than an hour each evening in the kitchen preparing dinner, compared to slaving away for 1.5+ hours in the kitchen before I discovered ECCD
  • Lunch and breakfast are typically completely finished on prep day, so they are ready to eat each day of the week. If not prepared on prep day, they take less than 10 minutes to finalize
  • I am not wasting time searching for new recipes, trying to find a new dish to make
  • Chulengo and I spend the afternoons during the week playing instead of grocery shopping and prepping for dinner

How I am Saving Money

  • I spend about $125/week on groceries for the ECCD program, which covers breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for at least four days. I often have leftovers from each dinner meal. I try to buy high-quality meat and produce
  • According to my monthly budget tracking, I have saved over $300/month on groceries since following the ECCD program
  • I use everything that I purchase at the grocery store. Very little goes to waste
  • Whole foods are cheaper and go further than processed, packaged foods

How I am Getting Healthier

  • Recipes don’t include processed foods such as grains, refined sugars, and chemically processed foods
  • Very rarely do recipes include dairy, which often makes feel bloated and uncomfortable
  • By eating clean, I have more energy to run around with my toddler
  • I have lost weight, and like the way I look in the mirror. My negative self talk has diminished significantly
  • My skin looks more clear and hydrated. I don’t feel obligated to put makeup on every day which turns into a time saver
  • I am sleeping better. I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep
  • I am putting whole foods in my body, instead of processed and packaged foods that don’t taste good and often go to waste
  • I have more confidence in how I feel and look. I no longer spend time looking in the mirror thinking about all the changes I want to make
ECCD eggs
Hot Wing Chicken Frittata Muffins – Week 46

Why Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty?

Simplicity

The number one reason why I love the ECCD program is that everything is simplified and written out for me. I don’t have to do any of the legwork for meal planning. I print out my list for the week, go to the grocery store, prep on Sunday, and then I am ready for the week. I don’t have to worry about researching recipes and making multiple shopping lists. I follow the step by step instructions for each dish and have delicious meals ready for my family each day.

Me Time

Prep day is like mediation day for me. My husband entertains Chulengo for half a day while I spend three to four hours in the kitchen getting meals ready for the week. I am in the kitchen alone. No one is talking to me or pulling at my waist wanting to be picked up. An uninterrupted couple of hours is pure joy for me.

It’s Delicious

Everyone in my household is enjoying the meals. Chulengo is eating meals without a fuss. My husband, who was at first annoyed at me for replacing his comfort meals with clean eating, has enjoyed each meal. I typically add a salad to a meal if I feel like we need a little more volume. I’ve gotten creative with salads by using leftover ingredients from my weekly shopping trip.

Meals are Seasonally Planned

Each week is organized to use seasonal produce. Because it is winter, the past couple of months I have been making dishes with different types of squash. This keeps costs down because seasonal produce is more affordable. Produce also tastes better because it is easier to buy local during seasonal times.

Improved Cooking Skills

My cooking skills have improved. I’ve learned new ways to cook dishes that are tasty yet healthy. I’ve become more adventurous and confident in whipping together a healthy meal. I’m learning how to properly season dishes to make them taste good without compromising nutrition.

Organized & Stocked Pantry

I’ve learned how to keep a properly stocked pantry. By following the guide to a stocked pantry, I buy less and spend less. My pantry is more organized and I regularly have items on that I use each week while cooking. Before ECCD, I would have bulk items shoved in the back of my pantry with canned items. My freezer was so disorganized I never knew what I had available. I would end up buying a box of frozen spinach only to find out I already had three packages in our freezer.

Easy to Use

The ECCD plan has a fantastic welcome program to help you make the most of the ECCD program. You can even schedule a 15-minute intro call with Sam, the founder, to ask any questions and help get you started on the right foot. I get an email each week, reminding me to get prepared for the following week. I can look at the upcoming weeks or past weeks.

Economical

I am getting the most for my money with the ECCD program, compared to other programs. I have tried boxed delivery programs, and I was spending so much money but wasn’t enjoying the culinary experience. The meals weren’t as delicious as I had hoped. With ECCD, I pay a one-time fee to have lifetime access to recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, and more.

At first, I wasn’t wild about paying money for a meal planning program when there are a lot of free resources available. But, I realized that you get what you pay for. The free meal planning programs I found online were more related to writing down meal ideas, coming up with my own recipes, and creating my own shopping lists. For less than $2 per week, ECCD does everything for me. I get a weekly meal plan. I get a grocery shopping list. I get recipes. I get prep instructions for prep day and the day I plan to serve the meal. The only work I have to do to meal plan, is log in to my ECCD program and print out the plan for the week.

ECCD was started by a mom

As I was talking to Sam on the phone this afternoon, I asked her how she came up with the ECCD program. She said being a working mama with a long commute; her meals were the first priority to go out the window. She started meal planning, with the focus on eating clean. As she started talking to other moms, she realized that there was a serious need for a meal planning program that made life very easy.

Sam knows exactly what parents go through to try and provide a good meal for their kids. Whether you say home with your children or you work out of the house, she understands that spending hours in the kitchen preparing dinner is close to impossible. You either don’t have the time, or you have little ones who want all of your attention while you attempt to put a meal together.

Options, Options, Options!

There are three different plans to choose from with ECCD: basic, pro, and elite. Every plan includes:

  • Access to the Meal Prep Video Library
  • 52 weeks of seasonal meal plans with prep guides as downloadable PDFs
  • 52 weeks of trello boards
  • Access to the private facebook group: Prep. Eat. Well.
  • 15-minute “Jump Start” Call with the founder, Sam

The pro plan also includes individual printable PDFs of each itemized recipe. The elite plan includes the individual printable PDFs plus 4-full color printed seasonal cookbooks.

I opted for the pro plan because I like to have access to individual recipes and PDFs. I have been taking note of which recipes are a huge hit so I can recreate them easily in the future or make them when our guests come over. My long-term goal is to create a cookbook for myself of ECCD recipes that I love to make and my family loves to eat. I print out PDFs of each recipe that is a hit.

Want to Try the Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty Program?

Check out the ECCD website HERE!

Play around on the ECCD website. You can try a free week of meal planning. I did this to test out the program and found out it worked well for my family.

If you find the Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty program works for you let me know! I would love to chat about how your meal planning is going, what you liked, what you didn’t like among the various dishes each week. We are all in this together, and it is a bit easier when you have a community with a common agenda like simple meal planning

Meal Planning
Meal Planning


42 thoughts on “The Easiest Meal Planning Tool: Save Money, Save Time, & Get Healthy​”

  • I will have to check this out. Many of the reasons you gave are similar to why I would benefit from such a tool. Can’t go wrong with help that simplifies!

  • I think the actual meal PREP is probably the most difficult for me. I don’t think I’d always have a ton of hours to prep food every weekend, or I wouldn’t necessarily have the inclination to. LOL I’m not a cook for sure, so it’s not really enjoyable for me. At the same time, I like the idea of having things broken down for me and eating better.

    -Lauren

    • That’s what I thought at first… like why would I want to spend 3 hours in the kitchen but it’s rewarding when the meals taste good and are easily finalized in the evenings. Now I look forward to my prep time, which is surprising.

  • Thanks for sharing! I am always looking for ways to better meal plan without going to the grocery store ten thousand times in a week. This is definitely something I am going to look into further.

  • I have been trying to meal plan to eat healthier but I am finding it so hard! I will have to try out this program!

    • I had the same issue until I came across this program. Let me know what ends up working best for you!

  • Great tips, as a mom of two I am always looking for ways to save money n grocery while keeping my dinners healthy and quick, I enjoyed reading about this plan and took away a few ideas to try.

  • This sounds wonderful! I’ve been telling myself we need to meal plan more because I feel like we spend a TON of $ on groceries and have little to show for it. We also end up eating the same things over and over and ordering out too often.

    • Tara, I totally agree!! We were eating the same things over and over and over and over. So boring and we started to hate meal time.

  • How did I not know about this program? (slaps face). Great post and thank you for explaining the program! I will definitely check out the website!

  • I love programs like this! We use to do emeals which seems to be pretty similar to this. We saved so much money! I will have to look into this one!

  • I’m always looking for new meal planning ideas. It doesn’t quite suit my needs at this stage in my life but I’m happy to have learned about it and might find it of use in the future.

  • I have been struggling with meal planning lately. With four kids , I feel like I can never please them all. I get discouraged but I have been looking for a new system. I will check out the free week and see how it goes. Thanks for this information post.

    • I was having the same problem, Gina. This does take a bit of planning on the front end, but it makes the rest of the week soooo easy!

  • I’m inspired! Do they have meals that can easily be altered for a vegetarian? My family is filled with meat-eaters except for me, and I don’t want to keep making two meals!

    • Kelly, yes I think they could be. There is usually a meal a week that is totally vegetarian. Feel free to try a free week and see if it suits your needs for having two types of meals.

  • I am a busy mom with 2 toddlers at home and need easier ways to get healthy meals on the table consistently… I need this in my life!

  • As a mom, I am always looking for ways to save time and money in the kitchen. I have never heard of the ECCD program before today. Sounds like just what we need. Thank you for sharing!

  • Structured meal planning…I love it! Whether it’s eating healthy, losing weight, or saving money, anything worthwhile takes planning. Thanks!

  • This meal planning program looks fabulous. We used to use eMeals and really enjoyed it. I still have recipes that we haven’t tried yet. So much easier for busy moms.

  • I love that you say cooking is like meditation for you. I feel the same way when I’m in the kitchen. I will definitely try what you are doing. Thank you so much for sharing. Very helpful

  • As someone who has done a low-carb diet and lost weight, I am all for eating healthy, whole foods. I enjoyed reading your blog post. I feel encouraged to get back with it. I especially am intrigued by the ECCD program! I am SO busy that I never have time to properly plan meals like I used to. I will definitely keep this in mind and perhaps try it out.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • This is a great article and full of information! Thank you for giving us all of this info. As a blogger I know how much research goes into one post and you went above and beyond with all of this information

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